Should I cut my son off...

<p>Ok... I need some advice from the masses here.</p>

<p>My son (19-year old college sophomore) , is insisting on doing something that I am opposed and really doesn't care nor respect my opinion.</p>

<p>He's playing the "I'm the adult and I'm independent" card, even though he's really not all that "independent" since I'm paying >50k/year for college.</p>

<p>I feel so very strongly about this, that I'm tempted to cut him off, the premise being that if he doesn't respect me enough to listen to me on this, than I don't see why I have to pay for his schooling.</p>

<p>Thoughts?</p>

<p>PS: I know that many of you are wondering "what's he want to do that you oppose?" Well, I don't think it really matters, does it?</p>

<p>Unless it's illegal or immoral (by any reasonable person's standards) then I don't think you should be trying to control his behavior by threatening to cut off paying for school. The circumstances do matter though, so more information is required I think.</p>

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<p>I think it matters a lot. You might get rather different answers or advice if the thing you disapprove of is dangerous and/or illegal vs. something merely annoying or otherwise trivial.</p>

<p>Yes, to me it does matter. He is 19, a legal adult. Unless it is something illegal or immoral, are you are making your financial support contingent on his obeying your wishes? Without you telling us what it is that you oppose, it is impossible to have constructive opinions.</p>

<p>What probably matters is whether you are ready to destroy your relationship with your son over this issue. Because that is probably what will happen if you cut him off. Only you can decide if it is a proportional response to what he is doing. For me personally, this list of acts my child could commit that would cause me to do this is very, very small. Probably includes the following:</p>

<ul>
<li>Finding out the kid wasn't going to school at all with the money I was paying (no brainer there).</li>
<li>An act of violence against another family member that resulted in serious long term injury or death. But that kind of act (even against an acquaintance or stranger) would probably put the kid in jail so they couldn't go to school anyway.</li>
<li>Possibly if the kid was failing school because of a behavioral issue on their part (drug or alcohol abuse comes to mind), I might decide that the money was being wasted (better spent on treatment if the kid was willing to go).</li>
</ul>

<p>Most of the other parent/kid conflicts I see out there would not be worth a permanent rift with my kid over (in my book). That includes things like major choice, sexual preference, decision on commuting vs. living at home, or some action on the kid's part that was not part of my religous beliefs.</p>

<p>I can say that I grew up with parents (Dad in particular) and have an ex-H who are my way or the highway kinds of guys (not sure if you are male or female, though). I can say that a couple of times in their lives they have won the battle and lost the war. Don't be so stiff necked that you wreck your relationship with your son. You certainly have the right, but it is a foolish thing to do.</p>

<p>It's both:
1. Very dangerous (my opinion, not his of course).
2. Something I'm philosophically opposed to.
3. Not in any way illegal.</p>

<p>The part that's really bothering me is that he's planning on going full-steam-ahead with this despite my strenuous objections. I think I deserve a bit more respect.</p>

<p>I'm sorry if I'm being obtuse, but once I tell what he planning on doing, I think the specifics of that will cloud the more general issue.</p>

<p>I can see many reasons to decide to quit funding a child....excessive drinking, drug use, not going to class, failing due to excessive gaming....
The reason does matter.</p>

<p>We had an interesting thread (and some spirited discussion) on a related theme a few months back: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/1165940-daughter-hid-tattoo-parents.html?highlight=tattoo%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/1165940-daughter-hid-tattoo-parents.html?highlight=tattoo&lt;/a> In this one, the parents had made "no tattoos" a condition of paying for college, and the mom was wondering how to respond when the d wound up tattooed.</p>

<p>In your case, OP - is this thing your s wants to do something you have previously specified would preclude your paying for his education? Is it indeed illegal, immoral, or patently dangerous (all my imagination can come up with on short notice is motorcycling alone through a known drug territory in Mexico, though I'm sure there are other scenarios)? It's your money, and you can do what you want with it. But I wouldn't expect my kids to forgive me if I withheld funding for their educations as a means of trying to control their behavior. Unless it was illegal, immoral, dangerous beyond any reasonable argument, or previously understood to be a dealbreaker.</p>

<p>Respect is not earned by paying your kid's bills. You aren't going to earn any more respect by cutting him off, only animosity. </p>

<p>What you want is for us to tell you that you are right. And you seem to think that if you give us the details, you will have some responders who think you are wrong. If you are so certain that you have the high ground, you should tell us what the details are.</p>

<p>Dangerous in one parent's eye isn't in another parent's. For example, some friends and I wanted to do a bike trip over summer while in college. Two friend's parents were fine with it, my parents said no because they thought it was dangerous (eyeroll on my part even 30 years later).</p>

<p>Ok.. I'll let you guys know what he wants to do, and my thought processes behind why I'm against it.</p>

<p>He wants to go on this trip to Israel:
Taglit-Birthright</a> Israel: Homepage</p>

<p>My issue(s) are as follows:
1. I don't want him going anywhere near the middle-east. It's a dangerous place. I can't help thinking about Alisa Flatow (Kfar</a> Darom bus attack), and that I'm sure that a day doesn't go by, that her parents don't wish that they forbid their daughter from going.</p>

<ol>
<li>I don't agree with tactics/motivations of the organization offering the "free" trip. To wit:
a. They discriminate -- only Jews are welcome.
b. They manage the message -- no free time, you only see what they want you to see.
c. If you've been to Israel before (and have already formed an opinion), no free trip for you.
d. You get to "mingle" with Israeli soldiers -- I don't want my son hanging around with a foreign nation's armed forces.
e. This seems to me like a bunch of rich guys offering free trips to they can indoctrinate kids over to their point-of-view. It just "smells" wrong to me.</li>
</ol>

<p>I know that my pov on this is probably in the minority, but I think as long as I'm paying the bills, my son should respect my wishes and not go on this trip.</p>

<p>I'm not a parent so hope you don't mind me being nosy in the 'Parent Cafe'...</p>

<p>I'm just curious but why does he want to go so badly, even though you are strongly against it. I will add I totally understand your viewpoint and why you don't want him to go.</p>

<p>He says because a few of his friends are going, and he's never been overseas before.
(I offered to take him to Europe next summer -- it's a big, world out there with lots of places to go, he doesn't need to go to the middle-east).</p>

<p>Is your primary reason for not wanting him to go your concern for his physical safety, or is it your philosophical opposition to the trip's organizers? Either way, you can't keep him safe from harm by dictating where he can and cannot go, and you can't decide what he's going to believe.</p>

<p>I'd say you have the right to tell him what your concerns are and require him to pay for any expenses related to the trip himself, since you are so opposed to it. Threatening to withdraw college funding that you've previously agreed to provide seems like an effort to control your son. And what if he goes anyway? Do you really want your son not to return to school?</p>

<p>I agree that it's your money and you can decide what you want to do with it, ie support your son or stop supporting him. However, when you agreed to pay for college, etc, did you have a conversation about what you expected with the support you were giving him? </p>

<p>Is there a way that you can continue to provide funds for his college education, but if he wanted to take the trip, he would pay entirely with his own funds?</p>

<p>People are right that we shouldn't use our money to get our kids to do what we want, but we also have the absolute right to use our money the way we see fit. If he is aware that you disagree strongly with his choice, and you would be financing this activity, then you should let him know you won't pay for it. If he really wants to do it, he can find another way to finance it.</p>

<p>
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you should let him know you won't pay for it. If he really wants to do it, he can find another way to finance it

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<p>The problem is that the trip is free, so I have no financial leverage regarding it.</p>

<p>A lot of people live in the Middle East, and most of them are not getting killed. Israel is quite safe. It is not like he is asking to go to Egypt or Libya or Iraq or Iran or Syria. Israel is a fully western-ized country. You are aware a US military bus was just shot up in Germany (I think it was Germany) too? or do you think this just happens in "the Middle East"? Your son is probably in much more danger (statistically) driving on a highway in the United States than taking a trip to Israel.</p>

<p>btw, a lot of places "manage the message"</p>

<p>I doubt "mingle with Israeli soldiers" means sit in a bar and do shots. It probably means you get to talk to them about what their job is like.</p>

<p>These trips are not a rare thing for Jewish young adults to do.</p>

<p>Do you think your son isn't smart enough to form his own opinions on his experience, and that he will really be indoctrinated?</p>

<p>I think you should reevaluate. In a couple years, your son will be on his own, and if you play this card (which, you are of course able to, the college money is your money), then you might never see your son again. If I was your kid, you wouldn't see me again, except perhaps when I filled your mailbox with dog crap to say "thanks for treating me like a piece of **** mom and dad."</p>

<p>It's not that dangerous in Israel. They take security very seriously and are very good at it. Unless he goes to the very outlying areas that terrorists enjoy lobbing rockets into he s/b pretty safe.</p>

<p>I took up scuba diving in college and I can guarantee you that it's less safe than making a trip to Israel. </p>

<p>I went to Israel and I'm not Jewish. While there I was around a number of their military people and survived and wasn't somehow corrupted by them. The ones I met were all nice people - not much different than anyone else you'd meet. This is especially true in Israel where military service is compulsory for everyone (unless it's changed recently).</p>

<p>I found Israel very interesting and wish I could have stayed longer. While there he can also see one of the holiest places for Christians as well as Muslims. </p>

<p>I'm not commenting on the birthright aspects of the trip - but a trip in general to Israel is a great opportunity for anyone and would be an educational one - not a bad goal for a college student.</p>

<p>Eligibility for Birthright, from their website <a href="http://www.birthrightisrael.com/site/PageServer?pagename=trip_faq#19:%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.birthrightisrael.com/site/PageServer?pagename=trip_faq#19:&lt;/a>

[quote]
The Taglit-Birthright Israel gift is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26, post high-school, who have neither traveled to Israel before on a peer educational trip or study program nor have lived in Israel past the age of 12. Eligible individuals are those recognized as Jewish by the Jewish community or by one of the recognized denominations of Judaism; or if either parent is Jewish AND the applicant does not actively practice another religion.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>If you are not the Jewish parent here, is your real problem that your son is choosing to identify as Jewish through his other parent, and this is why you are angry?</p>

<p>Be aware that it often takes a couple of attempts to get on a Birthright trip because there are many more applicants than spaces.</p>

<p>The purpose of Birthright is to introduce young people to Israel and connect them to their Jewish heritage. Folks within Judaism can reasonably disagree on whether this is the best way to accomplish that goal, but this is why the foundation exists and chooses to spend its money in this way. One can choose to participate or not.</p>

<p>He'd rather go there than Europe for the summer. Hmm, that is kind of odd. I also find that to be a lame reason to go...just b/c his friends are going. The trip is not a fun, party let's hang out in a foreign place kind of trip and more of a serious has a purpose trip.</p>

<p>You should require him to take a class at his college on the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict first</p>